Apple Pie Cookie Bars

Apple Pie Cookie Bars - fall spices, shortbread, and caramel apple filling. Yum! Fingerfood dessert

Guys – things are getting a little crazy around here.

October 1st, I did something I never ever in a million years thought I would do.

I embarked on the Whole30 Program with my husband.

Yes, yes. After mocking super strict and wildly restrictive diets (from my perspective), I went and did it.

Just call me Home is Where the Hypocrites Are. . . .

Why did I allow myself to be suckered in? I don’t really know, actually.

Curiosity mostly. I am happy with my weight, but not so much this aggravating belly thing that fluffs out over the top of my jeans.

And it’s a challenge. Sometimes, I am up for a good challenge. I just don’t know yet if this is one of those times.

I’m chalking it up to more of a nutritional experiment than a diet.

I want to see if I become more energized, if my annoying muffin top will magically shrink into nothingness instead of lounging over the top of my waistband, and if we can stabilize mood swings in the household. . . (who, me??).

And because (sorry Honey), I’d do almost anything to get my Lovely to kick his Diet Coke habit if even for just 30 days.

So when he called from work and said his friend was throwing around the idea, I jumped on board.

We flung ourselves haphazardly into this thing, poorly prepared and blind as a couple of cookie and Diet Coke stuffed bats.There was roughly NO preparation as we launched into the program, so. . . .

Day 1, for me, was a bit of a disaster.

Not being familiar with the “meal map”, as they call it, I under-ate. Therefore, I left myself ravenous at 2:30pm as I sat in the library with my Littlest.

I began to contemplate what my arm would taste like, then realized hers would probably taste MUCH better. . . .

Day 2, I discovered the meal map.

Only I misunderstood it and overate.

Now I feel like this guy:

fat giraffe

 I felt stuffed when I went to bed last night, and I still feel stuffed today.

Let’s see if day 3 actually works out for me.

So far, I am anything but sold on the greatness of this Paleo lifestyle.

I know, I know.

Two days of incorrect eating can hardly tell us anything.

My body is mostly in shock right now because I crammed my face hole with veggies and eliminated two of my most favorite foods in the whole wide world: sugar and cheese.

Lord help me.

Jesus ate bread, didn’t he? Aaaaaaaand he drank wine – both of which are also no-go’s on this thing.


And Black Coffee? Well. . . you’re not nearly as fun and interesting as your friend with cream and sugar, but I guess you’ll do for the time being.

The thing is, my commitment level is so low (curiosity is a measly motivator), and we have danger zones everywhere – like my pretty little cake plate in the kitchen that is currently displaying these apple pie cookie bars.

Which – by the way – are perfect.

Apple pie flavor in a buttery cookie form?

Uh huh.

Delicious. . .

And off-limits to me.

OH! And, my brother-in-law sent us another 30 lb box of candy.

None other than jellybeans, and folks – if you’ve been around these parts for any length of time – you know I have a little love affair with those things.

Currently they are buried under three other boxes in the garage. I’m not letting them out. . . pretty much because they are pure evil.

But you, my friends. . . YOU can eat apple pie cookie bars right now, and I’m convinced you should.

Do it for me.

They’re pretty much awesome and should be enjoyed by someone at least.

Oh, and sorry I was MIA for so long – our internet was down again.

But the peeps replaced our router. Here’s hoping the shiny new gizmo works and Repair Man Numero 5 knew his biz.Apple Pie Cookie Bars, classic apple pie in cookie form. Shortbread cookie, caramel apple filling, sugary crumble

I’ll catch you down the road somewhere.

Hopefully I’ll be in a good mood, I won’t be trying to gnaw off any of my own body parts, and I won’t feel like Mr. Fat Girraffe anymore.

Now go shove some baked apple goodness in your face for me!

Apple Pie Cookie Bars

Prep Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 16 squares

This is a caramely-apply-buttery shortbread apple pie cookie bar. It's melt in your mouth delicious and "tastes like fall", as my friend put it. The directions may seem a little daunting, but hands on time is really only about 20-30 minutes until you put it in the oven for the last go-round. Try it out this Thanksgiving for a fun fingerfood twist on apple pie!


    For the cookie base:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the apple filling:
  • 3 1/2 tablepoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into 1/4" cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • For the crumble topping:
  • 1/2 cup of reserved dough from the cookie base recipe above
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9"x9" aluminum baking pan with parchment paper.

For the cookie base:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and ligh colored. Add in vanilla and egg yolk and mix well. Add in flour and salt and mix just till incorporated and smooth.

Measure a 1/2 cup portion of dough and set aside to use in crumble topping.

Scoop remaining dough into the prepared pan and press into a flat layer using a rubber spatula. Try to make it as even and smooth as possible and extend it all the way to the edges. If the spatula is not working well, sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour and press it out with your fingers.

Bake for 16-22 minutes, until middle is set and edges are just starting to turn golden.

Remove from oven and set aside.

While the dough is baking, prepare the apple filling:

Over medium low heat, start to melt the butter in a medium sauce pan.

While the butter melts, toss the diced apples with a squeeze of lemon to coat.

Mix together the 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar, the 1 1/2 teaspoons flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Sprinkle the sugar/flour/spice mixture over apples and toss till coated.

Add apple mixture to the melted butter.

Turn heat up to medium and bring to a simmer (about 3 minutes). Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens (about 4 minutes).

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping:

Add the reserved 1/2 cup of prepared dough back to the mixing bowl.

Add in 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, spices, brown sugar, and salt.

Mix on med-low until small crumbs form.

When caramel apple mixture is finished, pour it as evenly as possible over the cooked cookie base and, if necessary in order to spread it to the edges, genltly spread it with a spatula.

Sprinkle crumble topping evenly over the apple mixture, and bake for 32-37 minutes until edges are browned and bits of the crumble are golden.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.


Sara| Home is Where The Cookies Are


17 thoughts on “Apple Pie Cookie Bars

  1. I’m MORE THAN HAPPY to take those nasty apple tempters off your hands for you….Out of sight, out of mind (and into my belly!!!)….

    You CAN do ANYTHING, so I have no doubt you’ll be Paleo-riffic by next week!

    BTW, LOVE that fat giraffe!!!!!!!!

  2. I’m not even going to say it. You hated on my broccoli-only lifestyle for how many months? Mmm-hmm. Well, 18 pounds later and only 0.2 left to my goal…take that. Not that dieting- or as I like to call it, a total food lifestyle overhaul- magically gave me back some semblance of an ab or two, but **sigh** that would probably require exercise and I’d rather not. Good luck-this one looks way worse than the one I did! Oh, and if you two aren’t back to drinking alcohol by Thanksgiving, you’re going to have one super sad Condor on your hands.

    • Oh, come now. I didn’t hate on it. I just didn’t understand why you would choose to torture yourself like that. Turns out, you had a much more legitimate reason than me. I’m just conducting an experiment, you actually had a purpose. Congrats to you though, you made it happen! And the abs? They may just be gone forever. . . . Tell that Condor to have no fears about Thanksgiving. Thirty days ends waaaay before then. 😉

  3. Wow! May the force be with you–a stronger woman than I!

    Also, dang, I love everything apple pie. These look perfect! Wanna mail them out West? I’d be happy to be supportive of your new lifestyle like that. That’s just what friends do.

    • Why thank you for your support!! If I could have nabbed my laziness in the bud too – maybe these would have made it to the post office!!

  4. Such a clever idea to make apple pie in cookie form!

    Here’s what I’ve learned from limiting sugar…as good as it is. The more often you resist, the less you like it when you happen to try it. Of course you could be coerced back into the sugar “zone,” but not if you hold onto your conviction a little. Also, I didn’t like dark chocolate before. Now I do. I think I taste now how SUPER sugary everything is. Fruit does taste better and things like date bars actually hit the spot.

    Good luck on your experiment, that’s how we got to where we are. I like to experiment on myself too. It makes things more exciting! 🙂

    • Ooo. Yes. I sort of crave dates now. . . which I’m not sure is the correct way to be consuming them. I think I’m not supposed to crave anything at all, but I still do. I have a super strength crave mechanism, I guess! Apples are my fave dessert right now too. My! How things can change!

  5. Ok so I tried this and had major issues, the first of which is probably the fact I chose to triple the recipe to use in a sheet pan which I believe was a 17×11. Anyways, it went together beautifully, baked up nice and golden brown, but when I went to cut it 2 days later it had random mushy spots. I made sure it was cooled completely before I covered it and it seemed to be cooked all the way through it seemed as though the crumb topping got mushy in places. Could it be I didn’t cook my apples off enough before poping it in the oven? It tasted good and my hubby said he will eat the mushy parts so not all is lost. I would like to give it another try as it reads no tripling lol.

    • Oh, I’m sorry it got mushy! Yes, I think it’s probably because of the large size. It does have a tendency to get softer after covering it, and, I will admit that, because of the humidity (and sugar ants!) where I live, I don’t ususally leave food uncovered. However, you may have better luck if you don’t cover it. I’m sure containing the moisture contributes to mushiness! Hopefully it works better in the smaller version!

    • Hi Catherine! I really don’t know. I haven’t tried. I think it might soften the crumble on top, but I’m also guessing that if you freeze them in the same pan you are baking them in, then you might be able to bring them to room temp the day before you are planning to serve them, then pop them in the oven for a few minutes to re-crisp the crumble on the top. It’s just a guess though! If you try it, let me know how it works out. Thanks!!

    • Oh yeah!! Glad to hear you enjoyed them!! I have yet to make them this year, but I am SO anticipating!! Thanks for letting me know!! 😉

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